Due to the potential effects on the adjacent Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s new government declared on Thursday that it intends to stop the development of a coal mine.
The Central Queensland Coal Project, which is intended to be excavated northwest of the Queensland town of Rockhampton, will not receive approval, according to Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek.
In order to lower Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, the minority Greens party has been urging the center-left Labor Party government, which was elected in May, to reject licences of coal or gas projects.
Plibersek issued a statement in which he stated, ‘Based on the information I know at this time, I feel that the proposal would be likely to have unacceptable impacts to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and the values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and National Heritage Place.’
Off the coast of northeast Australia, a network of more than 2,500 reefs extend over 348,000 square kilometres (134,000 square miles) of seafloor. This network is managed by the marine park. Natural, historic, and Indigenous sites of great national significance are included in the World Heritage Area, which has been designated by the United Nations and Australia’s National Heritage List.
The Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage classification may be downgraded by UNESCO, the U.N. cultural organisation, mostly because rising ocean temperatures are destroying coral.
Before the minister makes her final choice, the mine’s backers have 10 business days to respond to the recommended refusal.
The Greens applauded the information and encouraged the minister to veto an additional 26 coal project plans.
The head of the Green Party, Adam Bandt, declared in a statement that ‘now we need an all-encompassing moratorium on all new coal and gas projects.’
The government’s intention to decrease Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade was announced after the House of Representatives passed the legislation that would make it official. The legislation was approved 89 to 55.
The previous administration’s goal, established at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, was a reduction of between 26 and 28 percent.
On Thursday, the Greens’ amendment was lost, which would have acknowledged that no new coal, oil, or gas projects could be initiated if Australia were to meet its net-zero emissions objective by 2050.
The government is convinced that the law, which would prefer a 2030 objective of a 75 percent reduction, will be approved by the Senate next month with the support of all 12 Greens senators.
An open-cut mine, the ostensibly doomed mine would have produced up to 10 million metric tonnes (11 million U.S. tonnes) of coal annually.